Nicole Clark ’13
Take a moment and imagine a world without traffic laws. In this world, everyone just drives as they please, with no concern for anyone else’s safety. People honking, tires squealing, cars crashing- it would be a disaster.
Why, then, do we allow our hallways to operate in such a disorderly fashion? Students who are old enough to drive should be able to manage something as simple as walking without causing any sort of chaos, but this is not the case. There are “pile-ups” -made mostly of freshmen who think it’s appropriate to lounge about in the middle of the halls- and people who think that they are important enough to strut down the wrong side of the hallway, against the flow of traffic.
When you’ve got five minutes, these two things, along with a plethora of other “violations”, make it almost impossible to get to some classes on time. This is why I’ve decided to create a handy-dandy guide to hallway traffic.
Rule #1: Stay on the right side of the hallway.
This rule is probably the most commonly followed, due to some natural instinct Americans have gained from hugging the right side of the road while in a vehicle. This is one of the simplest steps students should follow in order to make moving from class to class as smooth and painless as possible. If you have to cross, simply edge your way to the center -where there really should be a right turn lane- wait for an opening, and dash to your locker, classroom or stairwell door.
Rule #2: If you’re “stalled out,” stay in the “hazard lane.”
In the same way that you generally don’t see broken cars “hanging out” in the center of the road, if you’re not moving, your entire body must be within a foot-and-a-half of the wall on either side of the hallway in order to avoid impeding traffic. This means that you shouldn’t be hanging out in the middle of the hallway or anywhere near a doorway with a gaggle of gossiping groupies, especially if you’re the easily offended type. If you decide to ignore that, don’t get upset when people either run you over, scream at you, or stab you with a pencil. Yes, that last one has been known to happen.
Rule #3: Watch the stairwell doors.
First off, stairways are dangerous, and you must obey rule number one while on them, unless you want to get sued for plowing someone over and sending them tumbling, or end up taking a tumble yourself. That also includes the stairwell doors. Stay in the right one, even if you have to stop your oh-so-important conversation for all of five seconds because you’re no longer walking next to your friend. This would also prevent those awkward moments where two people are trying to get in through the same door, and you spend precious time just trying to figure out who is going to zig, and who is going to zag. Also, keep a careful eye when turning out into traffic. You don’t want to cut off -and tick off- someone, do you?
Rule #4: Allow people to pass you if they’re going faster than you.
It’s a known fact that some people are slower than others. It’s also known that these people tend to form lines that stretch from one end of the hall to the other, making them impossible to pass. There are also those people who speed up when someone tries to pass them, which really is kind of rude. On the other hand, there are also those people who tend to shove others out of the way or yell loudly when they need to get by. Not only are these behaviors really unnecessary and undeniably annoying, but it doesn’t really help your cause. A simple ‘excuse me’ and a gentle tap on the shoulder is much more mature and effective.
Rule #5: Watch where you’re going
Even if you follow all of the rules listed above, you’re still probably going to find yourself nearly getting run over by someone going the wrong way, or having to swerve around a huddled mass of tittering morons in the middle of the hall. In a utopian society, we wouldn’t have to worry about this nonsense, but this is high school, so there’s always going to be someone who thinks they’re more important than the rules. The only thing you can do is keep your eyes peeled for people who constantly try to undermine your efforts to get to class on time, and avoid them. If you’re tiny, this rule is especially important, since if you get run into, you’ll probably end up on your rear end, which is not a pleasant thing in the middle of rush-hour hallway traffic. Trust me, I know.
Rule #6: Don’t be a jerk
As a teenage girl, I understand emotions. I understand being irritated with people and wanting to cuss them out in the middle of the hall or scream at the top of my lungs with friends. Of course, I also understand that these things aren’t actually socially acceptable, which brings me to my last rule: be nice. Don’t shove, don’t scream, and even if it usually gets the job done, don’t stab people with pencils. If you’re tall and suddenly find yourself tripping over something you can’t see: get out of the way, look down, apologize to the poor kid you just knocked over, and help her up. I know, it takes all of seven seconds, but it most likely won’t make you late for class.
If you and your peers decide to follow these six very simple rules, I’m almost certain that the chaotic thirty-five minutes we spend in the hallway each day will become nothing more than bad memories, and we will all be able to spend our passing time getting in a much safer, more enjoyable manner.